The (AGLIFF) Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival was founded in 1987 and became a 501(c)3 in 1995. AGLIFF rebranded to Polari, Inc. in 2012 for its 25th Anniversary Year. The organization announced its rebrand with an identity that embodies not only the nonprofit organization, but also represents the progress of the LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex and Ally) community.
The name Polari, a historic gay language, pays homage to our past while charting a new course for the future—once a hidden language, we are now insisting through the art of cinema that Polari be spoken in public.
Polari’s emphasis on reciprocal conversation will inform the organization’s spirit of camaraderie and community building. Polari reestablishes AGLIFF’s importance within the LGBTQIA communities of Austin and internationally. It asserts the relevancy of the organization, and foregrounds the important role that gay and lesbian film festivals continue to play in educating the public about LGBTQI issues through voice, vision and sound.
The Polari Organization facilitates communication between the LGBTQI community and our allies including our parents, brothers, sisters and friends, while fostering awareness, equality and entertainment though the art of film.
The Polari Organization’s International Film Festival cultivates enlightenment, education, and understanding in the LGBTQI communities through diverse and dynamic film programming and offers a crucial platform for LGBTQI media artists.
Polari provides education-based programs throughout the year, culminating at the Polari Film Festival. These programs include: The Queer Youth Media Project, My Queer Movie Project, Filmmaker Assistance Program, Community Partner Program and Family Screening Program.
Polari from the Italian word parlare, meaning “to talk,” was a language used by the gay subculture in London and other cities in the UK during the twentieth century. Derived in part from the slang lexicons of numerous stigmatized and itinerant groups, the Polari language was a safe harbor of self-expression and LGBTQI communication, a necessary shield from a larger society hostile to sexual minorities.
Initially used in order to maintain secrecy, Polari was also a means of socializing, acting out camp performances and developing a shared gay identity and world-view among its speakers. Polari has aided in the construction of modern gay identities, linking its use to the changing status of LGBTQI people in the UK and worldwide over the past fifty years.
Polari is to talk, to listen and communicate with the world about LGBTQI issues and concerns through film.